The Animal Crossing franchise turned 20 in 2021. Along with Mario, Zelda or Pokémon, Animal Crossing is one of the key IPs in Nintendo‘s catalog of exclusive games. The premise of these games is almost always the same: our character will move to start a new life , and we will start living in a new town or island full of humanoid animals. Within simulation or resource management games, Animal Crossing differs from the rest by having its own rhythm. We won’t need to eat or sleep. There is also no clear objective. Simply, the titles let you go to explore what you most want and make friends with the characters most in tune with your way of being. In this post we will talk about all the games that make up the Animal Crossing saga , as well as the evolution that these titles have experienced throughout their generations .
- Doubutsu no Mori – Nintendo 64 (2001)
- Animal Crossing: Population on the Rise – Game Cube
- Animal Crossing: Wild World – Nintendo DS
- Animal Crossing: Let’s Go To The City – Nintendo Wii
- Animal Crossing: New Leaf – Nintendo 3DS
- Animal Crossing: New Horizons – Nintendo Switch
- Animal Crossing spin-off
Doubutsu no Mori – Nintendo 64 (2001)
The first title of the huge lineage of Animal Crossing was not called Animal Crossing, nor did it come out of Japan . It was released in April 2001 as ‘ Dobutsu no Mori ‘. This version is later known as ‘ Animal Forest ‘ or ‘The Forest of Animals’. It came with its own memory card, and the cartridge had an internal clock to keep track of time.
The game had a lot of merit for being made for a console like the Nintendo 64 . Map loading was done squarely, with small loading transitions. For the rest, all the mechanics that we know were already in this first version , such as fishing, hunting bugs, buying and selling in the store or interior design. Many of the neighbors who have reached our days were already born at this time. With complete certainty, this is one of the Nintendo 64 games that has aged the best .
No wonder Dobutsu no Mori has now become a collector ‘s item. It was so well crafted that you could even travel to a friend’s town . It was only necessary to insert your Controller Pak (ie the other player’s memory card) into the second slot of the Nintendo 64. It was also possible to play NES games within the game. To do so, all you had to do was get the classic console from Tom Nook’s store and place it in your house. This edition has been translated into English over the years, and is called Animal Forest .
Animal Crossing: Population on the Rise – Game Cube
The Japanese soon discovered that they had found the key. By December 2001, the developers already had Dōbutsu no Mori+ , an enhanced version of the video game for the Game Cube . This title did come to the United States directly in 2001. The video game came with its own 59-block memory card, due to the amount of data it required for use. From the cartridge it jumped to the Mini DVD format, and now it used the internal clock of the console itself.
In this new version, many things have been added . This was possibly because development for the Nintendo 64 had to be curtailed due to cartridge limitations. The Handy Sisters appeared for the first time, also allowing us to create our own designs . The Museum was also introduced, and now it was Socrates who identified the fossils, and not Tom Nook, as in the Nintendo 64 version. The westernization of the game ended with the Bell Shrine, which was replaced by the Wishing Fountain , as well as the labels throughout the game underwent changes. Aesthetic touch-ups were also carried out and Tórtimer was appointed mayor of the town.
Several versions of this game existed. Dōbutsu no Mori e+ was an update to the original GameCube title that came out only in Japan . It had more neighbors, you could sneak into Nook’s store at night, there were more parties in town, and you could even buy a private island when you finished paying Nook’s mortgage, among many other new features. In any case, we Europeans couldn’t enjoy this title until 2004, when Animal Crossing: Population: On the Rise came out! It was a PAL version of Dōbutsu no Mori + , so many of the novel improvements of the e+ version never made it to our consoles—or were reserved for the later DS title.
Animal Crossing: Wild World – Nintendo DS
By 2006, Animal Crossing was already a success. And Nintendo’s handheld console was powerful enough to run a game like this. Wild World is the biggest generation jump in Animal Crossing . The game is still similar to the previous title, but we no longer need to be tied to a television to play a game. For the first time, Animal Crossing can be squeezed to the last detail.
And it wasn’t just a port of the Game Cube game. Wild World allowed you to share your house with your siblings or friends, up to a total of 4 players . The Wishing Fountain disappeared, and in its place, the Town Hall was placed. The museum increased in size, and El Alpiste , the cafeteria where Totakeke played on Saturdays, was placed inside. The watering can was also added for the first time in this game, and with it, garden contests .
The most important visual change was perspective . The buildings stopped being in isometric perspective to always facing south, a change that is still present in current games. Another great novelty was the multiplayer. Animal Crossing: Wild World allowed you to visit another player’s town both locally and via Wi-Fi by talking to the two guard dogs at the gate.
Animal Crossing: Let’s Go To The City – Nintendo Wii
Known as City Folk in America, this new game came to the Wii in 2008. The game could be considered an update to the DS title, with better graphics and access to a city. We could go to the city via the bus, and once there, we could spend money in their stores using a debit card. Thanks to that, we could shop at Graciela’s luxurious store without having our pockets full of money like some local hicks.
Unlike previous titles, the Wii game did meet with poor reception . It sold very few units due to its few differences from its predecessor. However, it made use of novel functions, such as Wii Speak , a microphone that was used to communicate with the voice during the online game. It also used the services of WiiConnect24, which allowed us to communicate and send things to other Animal Crossing players even when they were not online.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf – Nintendo 3DS
After the unexpected bump in the Wii , Animal Crossing returned to try its luck in the field that had performed best so far: the laptops . This sixth installment came to a Nintendo 3DS that had not finished taking off at that time. The city from the previous game became the Trade Zone, located at the top of the map. Tendo and Nendo took over from their father. The Handy Sisters for the first time let you share designs with players around the world using QR codes . And Nook became a real estate agent .
We can consider New Leaf as the generational change of Wild World . Finally, Animal Crossing had news again. There was a postal service , a shoe store,Betunio ‘s flower shop, and even a music club run by Totakeke, the versatile artist who was now also a DJ.
The game also allowed you to take on some mayoral duties , such as placing bridges, streetlights, and other public works. The police station, which had been removed in the DS version, also returned. Lastly, you could visit a deserted island to hunt all kinds of bugs and fish, where you could also grow your exotic fruits.
In 2016, the game had a latest update called Animal Crossing: New Leaf – Welcome amiibo . It allowed some neighbors to enter our town manually with an Amiibo figure through the game ‘s Motorhome Zone .
Animal Crossing: New Horizons – Nintendo Switch
The home confinement of early 2020 only had one positive thing, and it was called Animal Crossing: New Horizons . This title, released for the Nintendo Switch , revolutionized the technical aspect of Animal Crossing , seeking to turn it into something different to set it apart from its predecessor, which had been a real bombshell.
On this occasion, we will have to populate a desert island . We will arrive with what we are wearing —as always—, but instead of working on a town, we will do it on an empty piece of land . We will learn to create tools to be able to work wood, cultivate and fish. We will be the workforce of Nook, and we will help him to create each house for our future neighbors and also to build the town hall of the island. Once the tutorial is finished —which lasts many hours—, we will be able to shape our island . We will change the course of the rivers and the mountains, we will change the location of the buildings and we will be able to customize our island with total freedom .
It also allows full interior customization, a mechanic that is further expanded in the Happy Home Paradise DLC . Also in New Horizons , the miles system is released , a bonus system that rewards us for performing small tasks. We will visit totally lost islands either by plane, with Dodo Airlines or in the Captain’s boat. We will collect recipes to create our own furniture, we will be able to prevent our neighbors from leaving without warning and we will also be able to enjoy a unique experience thanks to Nintendo Switch Online, which allows us to visit other islandssharing the game with friends —and speculating like real Wall Street sharks in the turnip market behind poor Juliana’s back—.
Animal Crossing spin-off
Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer – Nintendo 3DS
At the end of 2015, after the success of New Leaf, Nintendo tried its luck with this title. We will work as interior designers for Nook Real Estate , in a city nailed to the one we saw on Nintendo Wii. Happy Home Designer allows you to control furniture in a new way, and offers you a very extensive catalog to decorate even the ceilings of houses. Graphically, the game is identical to New Leaf. It also allows for some customization if we use physical Amiibo cards.
Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp – Mobile Devices
Years passed between the 3DS title and the release of the latest game for the Nintendo Switch. In 2017, Nintendo tested bringing Animal Crossing to iOS and Android smartphones. The title takes place in a coastal area where some animals go to spend their vacations. The campers will ask for a series of requirements, and we will be in charge of helping them. We will be able to move to different parts of the map using our motorhome , which, in addition, can be customized both inside and out.
Being a free-to-play game, it has an ascending progression system, so there will come a time when you have to spend too many hours to level up if you don’t want to help yourself with micro transactions. However, the first few hours of gameplay are truly fantastic , and served to lay the foundation for Animal Crossing: New Horizons .